Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Regarding the Validity of Anglican Orders

There's been a lot of talk lately regarding Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio’s comments on the validity of Anglican orders. His comments come from an article in The Tablet, a publication which can be compared to the National Catholic Reporter here in the US; in short, both publications are known best for their heterodox writings. Here's some excerpts from the article on the cardinal if you haven't seen it yet:
In a recently published book, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, calls into question Pope Leo XIII’s 1896 papal bull that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void.”
“When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” the cardinal says...
“The question of validity [regarding the non-recognition of Anglican orders, while the Pope would give pectoral crosses, rings or chalices to Anglican clergy], however, is not a matter of law but of doctrine,” he explains in a question and answer format. “We have had, and we still have a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity: this is valid, and that is not valid. One should be able to say: ‘this is valid in a certain context, and that is valid another context’.”
There's been a lot of talk about "rigidity" lately, and it's unfortunate that it seems so many things devolve into this charge against Catholics by and large. These comments have raised some eyebrows, and it would be well for all Catholics to take a deeper look and find out the real story behind Pope Leo XIII's declaration on the nullity of Anglican orders in Apostolicae curae, especially in light of all the confusion that may result among the faithful during the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation.
Pope Leo XIII in 1898

Dr. Edward Peters, a canon lawyer made some excellent points. A few excerpts below from his article on Catholic World Report:
[N]o Tablet quotes attributed to Coccopalmerio directly attack Leo’s ruling (we are not even told what language the cardinal was speaking or writing in, and I think that is an important point) so there is some room for clarification.  
But, if Coccopalmerio said what The Tablet reports him as saying, the following questions would warrant airing. 
1. Was Leo’s Apostolicae curae an exercise of the extraordinary papal magisterium, itself making infallibly certain the invalidity of Anglican orders and thus requiring Catholics to hold them “absolutely null and utterly void”? I think it was, and I think we must, but I am open to counter arguments. 
2. Or, was Apostolicae curae a prominent exercise of the ordinary papal magisterium which coalesced with several centuries of other ordinary exercises of papal-episcopal magisterium in rejecting the validity of Anglican orders to the point that Catholics must hold them invalid? I think they surely came together thus and so hold that Catholics must regard Anglican orders as null. I can scarcely see any counter argument, let alone a plausible one, here, but if someone wants to offer it, I would listen. 
3. Or, finally, does Apostolicae curae, and the effectively unanimous rejection of Anglican orders by Catholic authorities over the centuries, and the express inclusion of the invalidity of Anglican orders by then-Cdl. Ratzinger in his doctrinal commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem(1998) as something known with infallible certainty, and therefore as something to be held definitively by Catholics, leave any room whatsoever for speculating on, let alone defending, the possible validity of Anglican orders? Surely the question is rhetorical. 
Next, if the answer to any of the above scenarios is Yes, do we not then face the situation anticipated by Canon 750 § 2 whereby one who rejects an assertion “proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church” is in that regard “opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church”? And, if the answer to that question is Yes, would not ‘obstinacy’ (which, I hasten to add, can scarcely be proven by a few comments) in rejecting a “doctrine mentioned in can. 750 § 2” leave one, following fruitless admonition by the competent ecclesiastical authority, liable to a “just penalty” under Canon 1371, 1º?
I think Dr. Peters lays out his points quite lucidly. I also came across this great essay posted by a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Fr. Donald Paul Sullins. Fr. Sullins is a former Anglican priest who was ordained under the Pastoral Provision to the Catholic priesthood in 2002. Along with Dr. Peters, Fr. Sullins shows why there are some problems with what the Cardinal has said in the recent interview with The Tablet. Although this essay was written well before the Cardinal's comments this week, it shows that no one has said, as the Cardinal remarked, "that nothing has happened" in Anglican ordination. I would hope that Pope Leo XIII is not being accused of having a "rigid" view on the validity of Anglican Orders. Here are some relevant excerpts from Fr. Sullins' essay which show how Pope Leo XIII was correct in his teaching that Anglican orders are "absolutely null and utterly void", emphases mine:
While Apostolicae Curae holds that Anglican ordination does not confer the fullness of Catholic orders, this by no means implies that Anglican ordination is without its own value and purpose
...I argue, absolute ordination creates the optimum conditions for the reception of Anglican priests into Catholic ministry while also respecting and valuing Anglican ministry. 
In this article, I will present four main arguments to support this thesis. First, the decision on Anglican Orders rests on much stronger theological grounds than are generally acknowledged, reflecting not only Catholic thinking, but also the central tradition of Anglican thought. Second, the view that Anglican orders could be valid is especially inconsistent with Catholic conversion.  Third, conditional ordination would place the Catholic Church, and the Ordinariate, in an untenable position regarding ordination decisions and could seriously impede the incorporation of Ordinariate clergy into the American Catholic Church. Finally, the absolute ordination of convert Anglican priests, properly understood, does not express a negative judgment, but rather a positive appraisal of the value of Anglican ministry. 
Article 25 [of the Articles of Religion included in the Book of Common Prayer], titled “Of the Sacraments,” presents the Anglican assessment of the nature of the seven sacraments traditionally recognized by Catholic Christianity:  
"Those five commonly called Sacraments—that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction—are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not the like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God." 
Here the emerging Church of England unmistakably asserted that the ordination of deacons and priests lacks any divinely ordained sign or ceremony, and, thus, does not confer sacramental grace... The specific concern of Apostolicae Curae, that the Edwardian Ordinal drafted by Archbishop Cranmer lacked both the form and intent of Catholic ordination, is emphatically confirmed by the content of that rite itself, and contemporaneous expressions of Cranmer’s doctrinal views.  Even the most motivated ecumenists have seldom claimed otherwise... 
With regard to the crucial question of the nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Cranmer ordination rite clearly not only did not intend to do, but intended not to do, what the Catholic Church did. 
King Edward VI of England
As with many other issues, the intellectual debate over the validity of orders reflects, among Anglican priests considering conversion, a concern for the legitimacy of the ministry they have known and exercised for much of their lives.  For those who may understandably feel otherwise, therefore, it is important to state clearly that absolute ordination in no way involves a detraction of Anglican priesthood. From a Catholic perspective, the question of the formal validity of Anglican orders is not a question about the efficacy of Anglican ministry. While Apostolicae Curae holds that Anglican ordination does not confer the fullness of Catholic orders, this by no means implies that Anglican ordination is without its own value and purpose. 
The Catholic Church today views the relation of Catholic to Protestant, not as the difference between wrong and right, but as between part and whole. It recognizes that many elements of genuine sanctity, doctrine, and orders are to be found in the separated churches of the Reformation, among whom, moreover, Anglicanism is held to have a special place. The bishops of England and Wales, in a joint statement, have made this explicit: “We would never suggest that those now seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church deny the value of their previous ministry. According to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the liturgical actions of their ministry can most certainly engender a life of grace, for they come from Christ and lead back to him and belong by right to the one church of Christ.” 
If one’s personal experience of grace in Anglican priestly ministry does not prove that the underlying orders are valid, it is equally true that a defect in the underlying orders does not nullify the experience of grace. Consider the case of an annulled marriage. Here, in analogy to Apostolicae Curae, the Catholic Church judges that a defect in form and/or intent in the marriage ceremony renders the marriage thus initiated to be sacramentally null and void. This judgment, however, in no way denies that a genuine relationship existed between the couple, that the spouses may truly have loved and been a source of grace and blessing to each other. Just as the personal experience of the spouses does not, by itself, legitimate the marriage, so the sacramental nullity of the marriage does not, by itself, deface their experience of love and life in their relationship. The lives of their children, if they have them, are recognized with joy and thanksgiving, and their legitimacy is, in no way, impaired by the annulment. 
Imagine further, the case of a couple who discovered, after years of happy marriage, that there had been some legal (or canonical) defect in their wedding license and that they were not legally (or canonically) married at all. To continue their marriage, such a couple would have to get married again, absolutely, in recognition that their former ceremony was null and void. Would that absolute remarriage negate the relationship they had developed? Would the love they had shared prior to this discovery be made null? No. The reality of their experience, the very real union of their lives and bodies, would not be negated in the slightest by the defect in their authorization. In the same way, Apostolicae Curae’s declaration of nullity of Anglican orders in no way denies the genuine grace and truth that is present in Anglican ordained ministry.
I would like to know if Dr. Peters and Fr. Sullins are wrong in their assessments, as apparently some in the Church are implying that Pope Leo XIII was wrong to declare Anglican orders according to the Edwardine rite null and void. So far, I have yet to see a convincing argument that any of those three men are wrong.

In talking with one candidate for the permanent diaconate on a public forum, he asked aloud whether anything has changed on the validity of Anglican orders since his classes on Holy Orders took place. I post his brief comments here:
My class on the Sacraments of Initiation was conducted only two years ago. No mention was made of the lack of Orders not affecting the validity of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In fact, my professor was quite clear that valid Sacerdotal Orders was a specific requirement. 
In addition, Sacramentology class on Holy Orders noted a requirement for valid Apostolic Succession. The Anglican Communion was specifically mentioned as a case for loss of Holy Orders. This class was done in the Fall of 2014. What has changed since then? As an FYI to all, this is the document we covered in my class, relative to the Anglican Communion
Concerning the article he posted, I thought this from the conclusion of the article was intriguing:
"Anew context for the resolution of pending problems between the Churches is thus in the making. This context is now posing new questions... To what extent the new context allows for new approaches to the apostolic letter Apostolicæ Curæ and to its conclusion is a question that deserves discussion. To what extent this context has also been negatively affected by the ordination of women in the Anglican Communion is itself a point that should receive careful examination.”
Ordination in Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
Many talk a lot about ecumenism, yet we see that certain ecclesial communities like the Anglicans keep breaking with Sacred Tradition, contradicting revelation, yet they keep hoping for true unity. That is a clear example of how one might be talking out of both sides of their mouth. Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a former Anglican priest, had some excellent points on this earlier in the year in an essay titled Time for Some Ecumenical Common Sense:
I see in the wave of ecumenical “dialogues” that are going on, that one presentation is entitled, “From Conflict to Communion.” Hmm. Surely we need to resolve the conflict before going on to communion? 
The elephant in the room is the fact that the mainline Lutherans and Anglicans don’t really give two hoots about ecumenism, and they should be called on this. 
Time and again the ecumenists on the Catholic side of the table have said, “If you ordain women priests this will present a serious obstacle to re-union.” They did it anyway. “If you endorse same sex marriage this will provide a serious obstacle to communion.” They did it anyway. “If you have women bishops, if you have gay clergy, if you have re marriage after divorce, if you endorse abortion, if you condone cohabitation…these present a serious obstacle to re-union.” 
They do it anyway. Then they all sit down at the ecumenical dialogues again and pretend none of this has happened. 
Surely part of the dialogue should involve some plain speaking and common sense. Catholics should ask a few tough questions like, “We said all these things would put obstacles in the path to unity. Why did you do them anyway and what are you going to do about this?"
Why are Catholics continually chastised for not being "open" to unity (as with Apostolicæ Curæ when the above shows how Anglicans show a blatant disregard for true unity in the decisions they have made in recent decades?

Furthermore, it would seem that in reading Apostolicæ Curæ , it's apparent that Pope Leo XIII (while having engaged in a massive study prior to the document's promulgation) did not make an entirely new judgement in declaring definitively that Anglican orders were null and void, but that he was reiterating what his predecessors had already declared; namely, Popes Julius III, Paul IV and Clement XI:
15. The authorities which We have quoted of Julius III and Paul IV clearly show the origin of the rule, which has now been constantly observed for more than three centuries, of treating ordinations according to the Edwardine rite as null and void, a rule which is abundantly testified by many instances, even in this City, in which such ordinations have been repeated unconditionally according to the Catholic rite. 
20. Thereupon Clement XI, with the unanimous vote of the Cardinals concerned, issued the following decree on Thursday, 17 April 1704: 'John Clement Gordon is to be ordained completely and unconditionally to all the orders, including sacred orders and especially the priesthood...”
Several Popes, past and present, have spoke on this issue, not just Leo XIII. So here are my questions I'd like to ask to those who have degrees in theology:

Canon lawyer Cathy Caridi, J.C.L., says the following about Anglican orders:
...the Catholic Church... asserted that the ordinations of Anglican clergy were ipso facto invalid. ...Leo XIII established a commission to investigate the matter further. 
The results... formed the basis for AC. The commission found that the ordination ritual contained in the new Edwardine Ordinal... was substantially different enough that its administration did not confer the true sacrament of holy orders. 
In the 20th century, scholars began to revisit the issue... but in 1998 the Church officially laid this matter to rest. Pope John Paul II issued Ad Tuendam Fidem, primarily to assert that there are some doctrinal issues which the Church holds are not open to debate. Within a few weeks, a companion document was issued by the CDF then headed by Cardinal Ratzinger. [It] provided a list of many theological issues which the Church holds to have already been settled once and for all. One of the examples of matters listed as... "to be held definitively," is the invalidity of Anglican orders. This means that Catholic theologians, even in good faith, may not entertain discussions about the possibility that Leo XIII's commission erred on this issue. The matter is closed.”
 Nave in the Cathedral of St Michael and St George, Aldershot
In light of this, I ask:
1. Did Leo XIII err on this issue of the validity of Anglican orders?
2. Leo XIII declared in AC 15, "...the Edwardine rite as null and void, a rule which is abundantly testified by many instances". Have Anglicans adopted another ordination rite, different from the Edwardine rite, in recent years?
3. If they have not done so, then how could an ordination made in this rite be valid if, as AC 33 states, there is an "intrinsic defect of form" and "defect of intention?"

It would seem that an earlier interview given by Cardinal Coccopalmerio might shed some more light on his thoughts from The Tablet article. This interview was given by Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register:
Pentin- One last topic: At a recent plenary meeting with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, you reportedly encouraged the members to push for a less rigid understanding of the priesthood, essentially telling them to give up on an objective and metaphysical notion of priesthood. Your notion was that as we have an understanding of different levels of communion with the Church among the baptized, we should have different degrees of the fullness of priesthood, so as to permit Protestants to minister without being fully ordained. What exactly did you say, and why did you say it? 
Cdl. Coccopalmerio- I was saying we have to reflect on questions. We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection.
Some commentators on this article made a comparison between what the Cardinal suggested and a radical sanation of a marriage:
I see Cardinal Coccopalmerio's point about a lack of fullness verses complete invalidity. It would seem to me that the same point about a lack of fullness verses invalidity is held by the Church regarding baptism and marriage....that being that they are not necessarily devoid of grace when they take place outside of the Catholic Church. The radical sanation of a marriage gives the indication of marriage validity from the time the vows were made, why couldn't the same principle apply to an Anglican ordination?
Now, I think we can all agree that a lack of fullness with the Anglican communion (as well as the lack of fullness that is to be had in their ordination rite) does not mean there is nothing good happening there, or that it means nothing and is completely devoid of grace, as has been claimed by the Cardinal in The Tablet. There can be grace there, as we've seen in the sources I've posted above.

However, at some point "rigidity" has to be seen as a good instead of a stumbling block. We cannot say rigidity is wrong in all times and all places. It is good to be unwavering on certain points; the martyrs, for example, were quite rigid in resisting Diocletian and other emperors and rulers who wanted them to renounce their beliefs; who wanted the martyrs to give a little "wiggle room". In the same way, what it comes down to, is saying whether or not the bread on the altars in a Catholic or Anglican church is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ or not. It is either Jesus after the words of consecration, or it is not Jesus. There is no middle ground. Is this an absolute statement? Yes, but absolute statements are necessary sometimes. Knowing whether or not the Eucharist is or is not present on the altar is something we need to know before receiving it.

Nicolas Poussin- The Institution of the Eucharist
This is why the issue of Holy Orders is so integrally tied to this question of whether the Jesus is present on the altar and in the ciborium or He is not. Some asked why the principle of something like the radical sanation of a marriage couldn't apply to Anglican orders. Well it couldn't, I hold, because the principle isn't analogous to the Anglican orders. The Cardinal in his interview with NCRegister says, "The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination.  I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing..."

So we have a hypothesis, and honestly that hypothesis hasn't been clearly elucidated anywhere that I've seen, either here or elsewhere. That's why Dr. Peters asked in his article on CWR "I.. hold that Catholics must regard Anglican orders as null. I can scarcely see any counter argument, let alone a plausible one, here, but if someone wants to offer it, I would listen." While people elsewhere have said that perhaps Leo XIII's declaration wasn't absolute, no one has shown an argument for why that is so; they've only provided an assertion with nothing to back it up. We have seen arguments given for maintaining fidelity to Pope Leo XIII's exercise of the Magisterium by Dr. Peters, Ms. Caridi, J.C.L., Fr. Sullins, and Cardinal Ratzinger. 

We have been provided with no arguments against this though. If there is an argument for not regarding Anglican orders as null and void, I hope that that argument can be shared more widely. 

So back to the hypothesis. Let's say there is a clearly elucidated hypothesis. As the Cardinal said, it could be something, or it could be nothing. As I haven't been shown anything to support the contention that the Edwardine rite of ordination might be valid in some cases, I would have to say that the "hypothesis" amounts to nothing in light of what many others have said in accord with Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae. As I understand it, something like a radical sanation can't be applied to this situation of Anglican priests because there is not only a defect of form with the Edwardine rite, but also a "defect of intention", as Leo XIII describes in AC 33:
With this inherent defect of "form" [in the Edwardine rite used by Anglicans] is joined the defect of "intention"... if the rite be changed, with the manifest intention of introducing another rite not approved by the Church and of rejecting what the Church does, and what, by the institution of Christ, belongs to the nature of the Sacrament, then it is clear that not only is the necessary intention wanting to the Sacrament, but that the intention is adverse to and destructive of the Sacrament.
I think that's why it has to be either "all or nothing" considering Anglican orders as someone can't be "partially ordained". In the same way you can't have Jesus "kind of" be there when attempting to confect the Eucharist. Jesus is either there on the altar after the words of consecration, or He is not there. This whole talk of trying to get around the clear words of Leo XIII ("we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.") sounds a lot like the legalism of the Pharisees to me. The Pharisees were always looking for loopholes, and they used those loopholes to get around the difficult demands of the Torah. One Evangelical Christian commentator puts it like this, and I think it's pertinent to what's happening in this situation:
Another type of legalism is that which looks for a loophole in order to get out of obedience to Christ’s law. True legalists look for a way out of obedience like a legalistic lawyer who seeks to find a loophole in the wording of a contract. It is a legalistic attorney who studies to find a technicality within a document which creates a loophole. A legalist would emphasize the letter of the command in order to absolve themselves of obeying the intended meaning.
The words of Leo XIII are clear. Since the Church is one with Christ, we are to hold that which is to be definitely held as declared by that same Church, as if it came from Jesus Himself... because it does come from Jesus Himself! Let's stop trying to work around those teachings (line in AC) and recognize that we as Catholics have extended many olive branches, i.e. the three Anglican Ordinariates. If Anglicans see Apostolicae Curae as a stumbling block to reunion, perhaps it's time they search deep inside themselves, and truly try to listen to the Holy Spirit that calls them to reintegration with the One, True Church and the Chair of Peter. It's not the Catholic Church that needs to compromise anymore, this time it's the Anglicans that have to make the move if they want reconciliation and full communion.

Vicente Carducho- Ordination of St. John of Matha
Now if this wasn't confusing enough, there are some people in the Anglican Church who may be validly ordained, but it's not because of the Edwardine rite. One person on a public forum I interacted with posted these three points. He is also a member of one of the Ordinariates:
1. The Catholic Church declared Anglican Orders “null and void” in 1896.
2. The Anglican Church has taken action to remedy the invalidity.
3. For a variety of reasons, the Catholic Church has chosen to deal with the situation by inviting Anglican Clergy into the three Anglican Ordinariates to continue their ministry should they so desire.
These statements might be a bit confusing, so let's look a bit more closely. In his statements for point two, I think he's simply pointing out that the Anglican Church has moved to remedy the situation, however their actions have not been successful. The situation hasn't been fixed despite the steps they took. The commenter had also said the following, emphasis mine:

"Through [the Bonn Agreement], Anglican Bishop Consecrations were also attended by an Old Catholic Bishop with Valid Orders. Having corrected the "form" in 1662, and "intent" following 1896, [B]the claim to validity has been reinstated [I]they say.[/I][/B]"

"They" points to the Anglicans. "They" say the claim to validity has been reinstated, but they are of course mistaken. It doesn't matter what the Anglicans say, but what the Catholic Church says. This was made clear in Apostolicae Curae and in Cardinal Ratzinger's (as head of the CDF) "Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei", which was released in conjunction with Pope St. John Paul II's [I]Ad Tuendam Fidem[/I].

So our friend is right; the Anglicans did modify the form of the Edwardine Rite in 1662, but by then they were too late, as the line of Apostolic Succession had already been interrupted. Pope Leo XIII explains in Apostolicae Curae, specifically paragraph 26:
26. This form had, indeed, afterwards added to it the words "for the office and work of a priest," etc.; but this rather shows that the Anglicans themselves perceived that the first form was defective and inadequate. But even if this addition could give to the form its due signification, it was introduced too late, as a century had already elapsed since the adoption of the Edwardine Ordinal, for, as the Hierarchy had become extinct, there remained no power of ordaining. 
27. In vain has help been recently sought for the plea of the validity of Anglican Orders from the other prayers of the same Ordinal. For, to put aside other reasons when show this to be insufficient for the purpose in the Anglican life, let this argument suffice for all. From them has been deliberately removed whatever sets forth the dignity and office of the priesthood in the Catholic rite. That "form" consequently cannot be considered apt or sufficient for the Sacrament which omits what it ought essentially to signify. 
29. ...So it comes to pass that, as the Sacrament of Order and the true sacerdotium of Christ were utterly eliminated from the Anglican rite, and hence the sacerdotium is in no wise conferred truly and validly in the episcopal consecration of the same rite, for the like reason, therefore, the episcopate can in no wise be truly and validly conferred by it...
Now, one can definitely argue that the Anglicans "should know better" than going to the Old Catholic Church, but we have to accept the fact that they are a few Anglican priests that have been validly, but illicitly, ordained, as in the case of Bishop Graham Leonard. As Fr. Sullins pointed out in his essay, "Perhaps, as an Anglican, one was blessed to be ordained by a Catholic bishop in apostolic succession, who spoke the Catholic words with Catholic intent; but again, perhaps not." Bishop Leonard had his paperwork in order, which was why he was conditionally ordained, as Cardinal Hume noted:
While firmly restating the judgment of Apostolicae Curae that Anglican ordination is invalid, the Catholic Church takes account of the involvement, in some Anglican episcopal ordinations, of bishops of the Old Catholic Church of the Union of Utrecht who are validly ordained. In particular and probably rare cases the authorities in Rome may judge that there is a "prudent doubt" concerning the invalidity of priestly ordination received by an individual Anglican minister ordain in this line of succession. 
There are many complex factors which would need to be verified in each case. It is most unlikely that sufficient evidence will normally be available, but in Dr. Leonard’s case, very full documentation was available which enabled the authorities in Rome to reach a judgment, and in this particular case that judgment was that a "prudent doubt" exists.
Peter Paul Rubens- Princes of the Church Adoring the Eucharist
Dr. Peters noted of this rare exception of conditional ordination as opposed to the typical absolute ordination of Anglican clergy in his essay on Cardinal Coccopalmerio's comments, emphases mine:
...the only other accounting I can come up with for his remarks is that, while Anglican orders are themselves invalid, some Anglicans are nevertheless validly ordained—not in virtue of their Anglican orders, to be sure, but in virtue of a post-Edwardian reintroduction of valid orders (conferred by break-away Catholic bishops or Orthodox prelates), such that a given Anglican minister might, by doing an ‘ordination pedigree’ search, be able to trace his orders back to a prelate possessed of valid orders.  
Such a query can be tedious, of course, and it might impact only a small number of Anglican ministers, but I think it only fair to acknowledge the possibility. (For what it’s worth, I think the Roman decision to ordain “absolutely” all Anglican ministers coming into full communion who wish to serve as priests—if applied without regard for the possibility that some could trace their orders to a bishop with valid orders—is problematic). Maybe this unusual source of sacramental validity is what the prelate had in mind.
So I agree with Dr. Peters. If what Cardinal Coccopalmerio had in mind with his comments are that there should be more time taken to find out whether or not an Anglican minister might have valid orders, that's great. If this is not the intention of the comments, there is cause for concern. I think that our friend that made his three points above is right on with his conclusion: "there is no benefit to the Catholic Church to recognize Holy Orders of groups which have strayed from the theology of the Catholic Church. To recognize Anglican Orders, they would also then have to deal with many other groups who would claim validity though the teachings are quite different."

So we are right in saying that every Anglican clergy that wants to become a Catholic Priest in the Anglican Ordinariate has to be ordained by a valid Catholic Bishop. The real question is rather they are conditionally ordained (which is very rare, as made evident by Cardinal Hume's and Dr. Peter's responses) or absolutely ordained. Pope Leo XIII's ruling stands; absolute ordination is the norm and anyone who says otherwise (outside of the extremely rare cases) will have to risk dissenting against a clear pronouncement given from the successor of Peter.

No comments:

Post a Comment